cat's-paw

(redirected from catspaw)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

cat's-paw

A person who is used by another to achieve some end, especially in a duplicitous or cynical manner. Taken from a fable about a monkey who uses a cat's paw to retrieve chestnuts from a fire. I thought that Jake really loved me, but in the end, I was just a cat's-paw so he could stir up jealousy in his ex-boyfriend.

cat's paw

A dupe or tool for another, a sucker, as in You always try to make a cat's paw of me, but I refuse to do any more of your work. This term alludes to a very old tale about a monkey that persuades a cat to pull chestnuts out of the fire so as to avoid burning its own paws. The story dates from the 16th century and versions of it (some with a dog) exist in many languages.
See also: paw
References in periodicals archive ?
The naive Godfrey was used by Katia as a catspaw to help a fellow revolutionary escape from the police, and Godfrey was arrested.
Trees, Effigies Moving Objects, Wellington, The Catspaw Press, 1972
An Abominable Temper, Wellington, The Catspaw Press, 1973
It was at this time that Denis Glover again sought to publish Alien Curnow, but this time under a joint imprint of his own Catspaw Press and Bob Gormack's Nag's Head Press.
Trees, Effigies, Moving Objects: A Sequence of Eighteen Poems was published by Glover's latest imprint, The Catspaw Press, but was printed under his close supervision at the Pegasus Press in Christchurch.
The real crime of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and Assad wasn't their brutality but the fact that they weren't the catspaws of the West, particularly in relation to Israel.
The event, sponsored by Chesterbased Aaron and Partners LLP Solicitors attracted entries from both professional and amateur artists, but it was Corwen resident Gerald who received pounds 1,000 for his oil landscape Catspaws off the Land, which shows a mountainous landscape with a choppy sea.
and anti-Israel catspaws who extend Iranian power to other parts of West and Southwest Asia.
It was made by conspiring catspaws seeming to be caught in, in a whorl, to the centre" [Hopkins Journals 208; emphasis added]).
To suggest that Africans are basically catspaws in a white and elite black power ploy -- as has Cobbing -- is clearly demeaning to Africans' knowledge and struggles.